Tag Archives: Travelport

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

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This week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted. This week’s issue is one of those “kitchen sink” issues. First we peer into the financial reports of the four largest airline pilot unions — ALPA, APA, SWAPA and USAPA — spurred by my wonderings about just how much the US Airways’ pilot union, USAPA, is paying out in legal fees. Boy, did I open a nice big Pandora’s box. Who says we only have to dissect the financial statements of the airlines?

Then there is American Airlines. No, the airline is apparently not in talks to do a deal with Mexicana, even though press reports south of the border indicated otherwise over the weekend.

Meanwhile, tomorrow is not only the day that American Airlines announces its first quarter loss. It is also protest day for American employees. Concurrent with the airline’s executive level bonus allocations, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants are going to be protesting — and I would bet there will be some other airline employees contributing to the effort.

On the corporate travel front, American filed suit against Travelport and Orbitz last week. They even dropped the “Sherman” antitrust bomb in their filing. Yep, American thinks there is some anti-trust issues here. Travelport and Orbitz, not surprisingly, think this is merely a play for leverage.

Speaking of earnings, we have a line-up of heavyweights on Thursday, followed by another heavy day next Tuesday. We get you up to date on analyst expectations and reporting dates.

If it is time for first quarter earnings, then Proxy Statements are also in the mix. Those are those horribly confusing and hard-to-figure out SEC filings that tell us just how much the top executives at the airlines took home in compensation during 2010.

Southwest Airlines filed their proxy statement last week, and, well, let’s just put it this way. Remember when the airline used to have the lowest top-tier compensation levels in the industry — and they made a big deal about the fact this was the case? And they were proud of the fact? It’s not the case anymore.

Oh, we talk about that, we talk about how airline stocks did last week, we talk about the TSA’s patdown of the six-year-old, we alert you to a museum collection of air sickness bags, and we talk about a lot more — in this week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter.

Subscribers can access this week’s issue here.

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

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We’re baaack!

Hello everyone. It’s that time again. Time for the first issue of PlaneBusiness Banter in 2011.

What topics are front and center for our first issue of the year?

Airline stocks.

Which airline stocks outperformed the group for 2010? I’ll say this — it was a great year for those who took the plunge and invested in the sector. We had four stocks we cover post gains of more than 100%, with one almost hitting a 200% return mark. The vast majority of stocks we track posted double-digit gains for the year. Only a handful ended up in the negative category.

We also talk about fourth quarter stock performance. Looking at the quarter, we had a somewhat different picture — as lo and behold — a US regional airline took top honors for the quarter. Which airline pulled off that feat?

But we are not just talking stocks.

No, we are talking a lot about American Airlines and its efforts to single-handedly dismantle the distribution system that the airlines have used since, well, American Airlines and its then subsidiary Sabre, developed the first GDS system. Many years ago.

Over the Christmas holidays, there were a number of happenings on this front. We’ll update you on those, and give you our take on what is eventually going to happen, and why we also think the timing of American’s push to put its Direct Connect system in place might have been, well, ill-timed.

Then again, throw in the planned merger of Google and ITA — and maybe it isn’t that badly timed.

I know. It’s confusing. That’s what makes it so interesting to talk about. There are way too many angles to consider — depending on whether you are an airline, a passenger, or a travel agent.

But make no mistake about it — airlines want more control over their inventory, they want to know who is buying its inventory, and they don’t want to pay a third party to facilitate the sale of that inventory.

American Airlines got its hand slapped last week by the NTSB, after someone in Tulsa apparently downloaded the contents of the flight recorder that was on the Boeing 757 that slid off the runway in Jackson Hole.

The NTSB was not happy.

Meanwhile, the airline and its flight attendants met last week with the NMB — in an attempt to get contract negotiations back on track. Both sides left unhappy.

I don’t think this union is going to be happy unless they go to a strike.

And then — there is the weather. Airlines are already putting out estimates of how much the rotten weather in December cost them. This week? Another winter storm is causing mayhem across the South and in the Northeast.

Oh, you know. We talk about all this — and more — in this week’s issue.

Subscribers can access this week’s issue here.